Center for Governance and Sustainability

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Strong Views

On a separate track, the United States National Intelligence Council (NIC) and the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) joined forces in 2009 to produce a common assessment of the long-term prospects for global governance frameworks. 1  Like the GRI, this process involved experts from business, the academic world, government, civil society, and think tank leaders from all regions of the world. From the EU’s side, the joint project built on its 2006 study that “stressed that a multipolar system is emerging and that matching the new distribution of power with new rules and institutions will be critical to preserving international peace and security." 2  From the US side, the common project drew on NIC’s 2008 public report that “noted that momentous change was ahead, with the gap between increasing disorder and weakening governance structures widening.” 3

WEF’s proposals to rethink global governance should be seen as a counter-development to proposals from within the international business community and the international media that sought to devalue international relations in favor of nationalistic positions. Over the past decade, strong voices from these communities have advocated the closure the United Nations, the withdrawal of the US from peacekeeping, the return of the gold standard, and the abandonment of selected international treaties and conventions.

The tenacity of these positions had narrowed the scope of action for governments at the United Nations and elsewhere to take on new (or to complete) multinational negotiations, and has scared international organizations from recommending new global programs on crucial contemporary issues. This narrowing of international activities is reflected in a three part diplomatic mantra: “No new conferences, no new organizations and no new money.” 4   WEF’s initiative is a strong riposte to those in the corporate and international community who attack the rationale for any multilateral global institutions. The GRI project itself is an effort to re-position  the necessity and legitimacy of the intergovernmental system in the wider corporate community.

 

The Readers' Guide welcomes comments with alternative examples or counter example and commentary - critical or otherwise - of the above interpretation of the context of the GRI project.

  • 1. ^ Office of the Director of National Intelligence (US) and the European Union’s Institue for Security Studies, “Global Governance 2025 : At a Critical Juncture” available on the web at http://www.dni.gov/nic/PDF_2025/2025_Global_Governance.pdf
  • 2. ^ Global Governance 2025, preface
  • 3. ^ Ibid
  • 4. ^ The organizational exception is 2011 founding of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, better known as UN Women.

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